JUNEAU — A Beaver Dam man was found guilty this week for possessing an explosive device.
Chad Leitner, 42, entered a no-contest plea Tuesday before Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Kristine Snow to a felony count of possession of an improvised explosive device and two felony counts of misdemeanor bail jumping.
If convicted on all three charges, he could face up to 18 years in prison. According to Wisconsin court records, one of the felony counts of bail jumping may be dropped at Leitner’s sentencing, which is scheduled for Dec. 13 in Dodge County Circuit Court.
According to the criminal complaint, Beaver Dam police officers were dispatched to Riverview Drive about 2:45 p.m. Feb. 27 to investigate a suspicious vehicle complaint. The vehicle had driven through the area for roughly 20 minutes, stopped a few times and eventually parked in a driveway on Kelly Circle. Law enforcement identified Leitner as the vehicle’s owner. When he was questioned, authorities noticed a backpack which Leitner allowed them to search.
Leitner was identified as the vehicle’s owner.
When he was being questioned, authorities noticed a backpack, which Leitner reportedly allowed them to search. Inside the backpack officers allegedly found a “silver pipe-like object with a green fuse protruding from the center” and “two end caps on it,” the complaint stated.
The officer then drew his handgun, pointing it at Leitner, who was taken into custody.
The Dane County Bomb Squad was called to the scene and rendered the pipe bomb safe.
The device itself was filled with 2-inch finishing nails. The Dane County’s bomb technician said the kill radius of such a device would be roughly 50 feet, according to the criminal complaint.
Leitner denied making the pipe bomb and allegedly told investigators he got it from a neighbor in Fond du Lac who used them to blow up tree stumps.
He told arresting officers that since he was a felon and could not own a firearm, a bomb was a next option for personal defense, according to the criminal complaint.